You don’t need to be inside the galleries to learn about art in SFMOMA’s collection. Although our museum remains closed, we’re continually updating our website and social media channels with educational materials for younger students and lifelong learners alike.
In this guide, find our top five ways for K-12 students to engage from a distance with SFMOMA’s modern and contemporary art. If there are resources you’d like us to develop, we’re listening. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with requests.
Originally designed to support SFMOMA’s Art Express program, our Art Guides are appropriate for elementary-grade learners. These guides invite readers to explore artists and artworks through fun facts, discussion questions, and hands-on activities. Bonus: These come in the form of downloadable pdfs, so they might come in handy if you’re planning on being away from WiFi.
Richard Mayhew, Delusions, 2000; oil on canvas, 30 × 40 in. (76.2 × 101.6 cm); Gift of The Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection, 2017
These art projects encourage you to respond to the artwork, think like the artist, and create original works of art while focusing on process and a few key concepts.
Looking for a place to start? Consider this activity inspired by Richard Mayhew’s Delusions, 2000, which requires just a few materials and offers learning opportunities focused on shape, color and texture. We also have a bevy of Open Studio art activities, developed with artists, to choose from for older students.
SFMOMA has hundreds of videos in its digital collection, and “The Country Dog Gentlemen Travel to Extraordinary Worlds” is an apt choice for families with younger children — or anyone seeking a bit of levity!
In this series, canine characters from Roy De Forest’s playful painting Country Dog Gentlemen take you on adventures to learn about famous artworks, including works from Sargent Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Henri Matisse.
Kehinde Wiley, Alexander the Great, 2005; collection SFMOMA, gift of Byron R. Meyer; © Kehinde Wiley
To prompt reflection into key works, we’ve developed a series of Discussion Questions that can help stimulate conversations around works in SFMOMA’s collection.
While these questions are designed for use on school tours, they offer a solid jumping off point for anyone, anywhere, hoping to interrogate complex works in the collection. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider jumping straight to questions promoted by Kehinde Wiley’s “Alexander the Great,” 2005.
Ellsworth Kelly, Spectrum I, 1953; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and promised gift of Helen and Charles Schwab; © Ellsworth Kelly; photo: Ben Blackwell
Go on a virtual exploration of art at SFMOMA. You can sort through art by curatorial department, if you prefer, and we’ve also teased out 12 artworks that prove especially popular with younger learners. Highlights include pieces by Ruth Asawa, Wayne Thiebaud and Joseph Stella.